If adoption is a part of your life in any way: birth parent, adoptive parent, hopeful adoptive parent, adoption advocate or professional and would like your blog or website added to my list of links please email me your name and URL. adoptionfyi at gmail dot com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Article: Raised in foster care, he didn't think he could be a dad; then he met Christian

The big day has come: Rick Kelly is going to court to finalize his adoption of Christian, 7. As they get ready to go, Rick makes a final check of Christian’s attire. Rick and Christian have known each other since the boy was just 3 years old, when Rick’s own foster parents took in the abused boy.

By Lane DeGregory, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, June 21, 2009

A beautiful article about how a little boy chose his dad, a man who never thought he could be a father.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Review: Adoption is a Family Affair


Adoption is a Family Affair: What Relatives and Friends Must Know

by Patricia Irwin Johnston

My family has been very supportive of our efforts to adopt. They have expressed concerns at times, born sheerly out of love for us and lack of information, but they have always been hopeful for us. They have seen both to beautiful side of adoption, and the ugly side. They have encouraged us through the hard times.
That said, I think I will purchase a copy of this book and send it to them. I found it enlightening myself. It if full of resources to learn more about any adoption topic you can think of. At the end of every chapter is a list of books that deal with the chapter topic in greater depth. This book has dramatically increased my adoption reading list (as if it weren’t all ready way too long!)
For anyone who feels that they would like to better support their family or friends in their adoption journey, this is the book to read. For anyone who would like more support from their friends and family, this is the book to give them.

The book begins by helping family (it is particularly directed at the parents of potential adoptive parents) recognize and understand their own fears. From worrying that the child won’t fit into the family, to concerns over transracial adoption, and facing the unusual situation that is open adoption, this is where you start. Moving forward means coming to terms with your own fears. This first section will help your family do just that.
The next few chapters address the inherent pain that accompanies adoption. Because our family suffered through our hellish pregnancy with us, they also knew that all other children would join us through adoption. They grieved our strange form of infertility with us, so I had never considered what it must be like for a family to be faced with the sudden announcement that a child will join their family through adoption. They will not have had the same grieving period that the potential adoptive parents have had. They may not have even known that they were trying (and probably failed) to conceive. These chapters help family to understand why they may not feel the joy and excitement that their adopting family members would hope them to feel, and what to do about it. It also covers what to do and say if someone has all ready “blow it.”

The next chapter addresses the common myths that people may have about adoption and explains the adoption process, putting those myths to rest.

Other chapters explain how family members can help the potential adoptive parent or parents through every stage of the process. How to help them get ready, how to respect their privacy (what very little they have left) and how to celebrate their paper pregnancy. What to expect and how to help when the baby arrives. How the homecoming of an adopted baby is different than the homecoming of a biological baby and how to respect that.
One of the parts about the book that I liked the best is when the author talks about how family members and friends often think that because the new mother isn’t recovering from child birth that she doesn’t need the same kind of support. She revels that the emotional trial of adoption is just as fatiguing as child birth, and reminds family members that bringing a newborn home still entails a lack of sleep and some serious adjustments to life in general. She also talks about the need for the new adoptive parents to “circle the wagons” and be the ones holding the child nearly all of the time. This is to help facilitate initial bonding, as they have not had the benefit of a nine month pregnancy to bond with their baby. She suggests that taking care of the more day-to-day aspects of life for the couple (like cooking and laundry) is much more helpful to them then visiting to “hold the baby.” She also discusses the fact that may adoptive parents, both mother and fathers, still face the “baby blues” following adoption and that this is something family members should be aware of and support them through.
Following chapters go through what to expect if the child joining your family is not a baby, the issues they can have and how family can help them adjust. The author also discusses what adoption means for a child in each major life stage and what they will need from their extended family. One of the most important topics Johnston discusses is the need for privacy surrounding the child’s adoption story. She stresses that it is their story to share when they want and keep private when they want, and how family members can respect that.
Lastly, there is a chapter that deals with the rest of the world and adoption. How, to deal with obnoxious questions, how to advocate for adoption and how to educate people who are not yet enlightened about adoption.
This is a wonderful book to help family members and friends understand how they can best become part of the adoption experience and support the adoptive parents as well as the new addition to the family. Mom and Dad, be on the lookout for your very own copy!

Lovely Article in Real SImple Magazine

Kate Simonson and her dad Mike Fieseler

Happy Father's Day

Kate Simonson writes about she and her brother were adopted as teens by "a man who used to date my mom." What a great story.

Read it online at Real Simple.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adoption Voices


There is a new place for all of us who have been touched by adoption to network, find support and offer solutions. Add it to your bookmarks and spend some time making new friends.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Review: Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother


Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff

Let me preface this review by giving a little background on my own place in the world of adoption. I am a mother. I have a son who is 19 months old. He was not adopted, and so I am in the somewhat unusual situation of being both a mother and a hopeful adoptive mother, but not yet both a mother and an adoptive mother. If you want to know more about how I became both a mother and a hopeful adoptive mother at the same time, you may read here.

I really wanted to like this book. When I saw the title, I hoped that inside it I would find someone who has walked where I am walking. I hoped that I would find treasures of comfort and hope and connection. Those gems were not written into this book. What I found instead was permission, permission to acknowledge any feelings about adoption that I have. I did not however, find joy. If you are searching for a book relating both the difficulties and joys of becoming and being an adoptive mother, this is not the book for you.

If you are struggling with accepting your role as an adoptive mother, if you worry that your thoughts and feelings are not normal, and if you find reassurance in knowing that someone else has thought and felt those same disconcerting things, then you may readily connect with Jana.

This book is a memoir of one woman’s unique adoption journey. She did not find it a pleasant journey. It was fearful and mournful and draining. In each chapter she writes about the most haunting questions and trials of adoption, rarely pausing to revel in the miracle and the joy. I found her account depressing and agitating. She reveals in her author’s note at the end of the book “I have come to understand that many of my feelings -- especially toward birth parents -- stemmed from my own insecurities.” (p 165) I felt her insecurity throughout the book.

My situation and Jana’s situation are very different and perhaps that is why her book did not speak to me. It may be that this is just what other adoptive mothers need to read (and I would love to hear from some of you if you decide to read it.) You see, I will never face mourning my own infertility. Yes, I have had moments of sadness over the fact that we will never experience pregnancy and birth again, but then, the first time was horrible, so those moments are short lived. No, I will never have to wonder if the strange and silly things my adopted children do are a result of some primal pain they are suffering from, I’ve seen those behaviors in my son and his playmates. (By-the-way, Jana if you ever read this, my toddler eats like that too- like he’s never been fed in his life.) True, I have not yet gone through the joy and agony of placement, but I am conscious of it and trying to prepare for it (as best you can for something of such magnitude.) I’m sure my naivety in this area serves me well for the time being.

For me, it isn’t helpful to dwell on the negative aspects of adoption. Yes, I fully understand that adoption is a miracle born of pain and sorrow. I respect that, but I would prefer to learn how to facilitate healing. Yes, it is true that in a perfect world adoption would not exist, but we don’t live in a perfect world and thoughts like that are not useful to me. And yes, there will always be people who will use yours and your children’s adoption background to try to hurt you and to hurt them, but we all have challenges to face and differences to come to terms with. Instead of retaining and remembering that pain, I prefer to celebrate our differences and help others to do the same. Again, perhaps my naivety blinds me, only time will tell.

So, while this book was not for me, those adoptive mothers and hopeful adoptive mothers who struggle with their own thoughts and feelings toward adoption may relate well to this book. However, it does little to offer help toward resolution of those feelings or to uplift those who read it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Agency Review Website

If you are trying to select an agency, either as hopeful adoptive parents or as an expectant parent, you should visit this site. I sure wish we had before we selected our agency.

Adoption Agency Ratings

"Over 1200 adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are rated and reviewed by adoptive families, birth moms, first fathers and adoptees providing unbiased first hand experience."

They are in process of updating the site, so you can't currently register or add a review, but there is a lot of good information there.

The Day I Gave My Heart Away

A birth mother shares her story with Adoptive Families Magazine and with us.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Resource: Weaving Families - The Magazine


Weaving Families - The Magazine

Weaving Families Adoption Ministry has just published their first issue of Weaving Families Magazine. It's a great adoption resource for adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents from all avenues of adoption, domestic, international, and foster care.

I recommend viewing it in the "paper" format. This is the way I found it most easy to read.